For today I had set my alarm for 04:30 hoping that the weather would be rubbish so that I would get a lie in otherwise it was a 05:00 start like promised to go and hike up to Poon Hill which I wasn’t really fancying I thought that I would take a look out the window to see what the sky was doing. In a moment, my dreams for a lie in were crushed as all I could see was a beautiful starry sky. There were no clouds anywhere and this meant that I would have to be getting up to make the journey up to Poon Hill… great.

Not much light early in the morn!

Stupidly I stayed awake and it wasn’t long before 05:00 came along and the knock on my door was there. I tried to say that I was up but evidently my intruder didn’t hear or didn’t want to hear and wanted to annoy me for a while. Eventually I was left to get ready and I didn’t really put much on, trousers and a down jacket and took my camera and a bottle of coke to keep me hydrated during the climb up to Poon Hill.

Maybe I had underestimated this journey at this time in the morning as we set off for Poon Hill which was situated at 3210m metres and we were staying at Gorepani which was 2800 metres so we had a lot of climbing to do on no food and a bottle of coke but I was happy with how light I was being used to carrying a full 70 litre pack for the past few days. I found it quite easy going and didn’t take a torch with me as I figured it would be light before long and the majority of other people would be using a torch so there would be enough lights to see steps.

After getting on the main track going up to Poon Hill it became clear that it was a kind of pilgrimage with everyone going at the crack of dawn for the same reason and the path was quite busy, eventually things started to level out and we were nearing the top. At the top a big sign was present with ‘Poon Hill 3210m’ written on it and there was quite a large structure on stilts so that people could get a better view if they wanted, the day was very clear and it was great to be able to see all of the mountains in sight and you could see the range containing Dalaghiri and then curving around the corner to the Annapurna range which was also in good view.

It was incredibly busy and there were people there with all sorts of cameras and it was a shame that mine wouldn’t really produce good pictures till the light picked up a bit. The sky was turning slightly red and the sun was slowly poking over the top of a valley so it was nice to be able to get some better pictures, somehow there was a place serving tea and coffee on top and I had a cup of tea and decided to take a few pictures of the commotion on top of the hill to show the tourism and how busy it was.

Lots of people on the hill!

Shortly before 07:00 we started to go back down so we could return in time for breakfast. I was happy to get down as quickly as possible and without weight I felt quite light on my feet and managed to run a bit of the way down. I felt incredible going downhill without weight on my back. I was literally bouncing on my feet and was on top of the world. This was very much a high of the trip for me, I felt amazing and completely one with the landscape and the ground and was a very happy guy arriving back for breakfast. The speed of me coming down was emphasised when the others turned up about ten minutes after me. I had already had time to order food and to pack my bag I was ready to go!

The clear morning made me feel quite cold so I went and sat by the fire awaiting food. We were told that the day wasn’t as much of a climb as the previous day which made for good reading and we set off about 09:00 and started a short climb where you could look back onto Gorepani and see Poon Hill across the horizon, its always very busy in the morning with lots of big groups and small groups to try and get through the rush. The views were good though and the mountains were almost always visible which was beautiful to walk aside.

Trying my hand at catching the sunrise at Poon Hill

Eventually I think we reached the highest point for the day and started to descend through a forested area for quite some time, descending is quite fun when the steps aren’t too big and they are strong making it possible to bound down and walk a lot quicker than usual. This descent kept going on and on and it was hard to say when we would reach the bottom until a sound of a river started to become louder and louder.

After many big steps we were walking besides the river and my bag was giving me some problems for the first time ever. I had put my trainers in a different place to usual and I think this had offset the balance of weight I was used to and was feeling it a lot more in the middle of my back. We came to a place with a couple of lodges and restaurants and it was very welcome when we were told that we would be stopping here and taking lunch. I had a chance to rearrange my bag and we were making excellent progress with only an hour and a half to walk after lunch. Fried noodles with egg and vegetables was on the menu for lunch which was exciting and looking at the maps we had and through talking with Bimal it appeared that the schedule for after lunch would be to walk down a valley and walk back up the other side and after this the day would be over. A big downhill followed by a slog uphill sounded like great fun.

The group at Poon Hill, Suke and Bimal trusted guides!

We set off downwards and it was quite slippery and it was difficult trying to take care and not slide all over the place. Upon arriving at the bottom we rested for a short while before starting the climb up the other side. Luckily, this side seemed to have a bit more infrastructure to it and there were many steps going up and progress was very hard but we made it up to the lodge from the bottom in 20 minutes which was a brilliant effort on our part and arrived in the lodge by 13:15 where it was time to chill out and have some fun with the Tibetan woman who were selling goods in this village. They have strange selling techniques like offering you a ‘morning price’ ‘good price for you sir’ and ‘nepali price.’ The stuff they sell is great souvenirs and presents for others and I would recommend buying some things if you go trekking just make sure you haggle hard and have some fun with it. As I was there for so long my whole trip in the village was a big souvenir for me… plus my 280 page diary.

I rested for a bit after this and listened to music before settling into the restaurant where they had a gas fire under the table which was very warm although the kerosene fumes weren’t the best to breathe in. we all talked about the crap state England is in like typical Englishmen and an Irish man who was travelling alone joined in and we ended up talking a lot to him until late… 19:40 and the dinner of egg and chips was very nice and a break from pasta style products.

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